The Super Bowl is among the most popular sporting events across the ideological spectrum — but according to at least some of those in the stands for Sunday’s game, President Joe Biden is not so beloved.
When the president and first lady appeared virtually for an address during the game in Tampa, Florida, they received a particularly cold reception from certain fans.
“Let’s remember all those who we’ve lost”
According to the Washington Examiner, Joe and Jill Biden focused on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during their video remarks.
Of course, the Super Bowl itself served as a reflection of the ways American life has changed since the virus disrupted society last year.
While there were certain signs of normalcy — a win by quarterback Tom Brady and big-budget commercials, for example — but the presence of cardboard cutouts distributed throughout the stadium was evidence of the social distancing that the Bidens stressed as part of the continued vigilance necessary to combat the public health crisis.
In their pre-recorded message, the first couple asked for a moment of silence prior to the kickoff for the more than 460,000 Americans who had reportedly died as a result of COVID-19 as of that day.
“Wear a mask,” the president advised. “Stay socially distanced. Get tested. Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. And most of all, let’s remember all those who we’ve lost.”
Detractors complain of double standard
The result was hardly a moment of silence, however, as apparent boos began to echo throughout the stands, leading conservative writer Benny Johnson to suggest that Americans have grown “tired” of the public-service announcements emanating from the Biden administration.
Whether in reaction to the messengers or their message, many critics denounced the booing spectators for a display deemed disrespectful to those who have died or lost loved ones during the pandemic.
Plenty of other Americans determined that the reaction was merely a statement of disapproval for the new president, who is still seen by millions of voters as an unpopular public figure being propped up by a compliant mainstream media.
The NFL has long served as a lightning rod for cultural disagreements, and the Super Bowl’s spotlight amplifies those divisions.
As another parallel between the worlds of sports and politics, many who witnessed the maskless fans pilloried for celebrating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win saw a double standard when comparing it to the largely unrestrained public display of jubilation that followed Biden’s electoral win in November.